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What is council tax and who is liable to pay?

What is council tax?

Council tax is a tax on domestic property. Each property is assigned one of eight bands (A to H) based on property value, and the tax is set as a fixed amount for each band.

We collect council tax on behalf of government organisations in the area. These include:

The amount of council tax you pay depends on how much certain public bodies in your area need to spend to deliver local services, and also how much they get from elsewhere. The amount you have to pay also depends on which valuation band your home is placed in.

This year (2017/18) a local home will pay a total of £188.31 (band D) for the services we deliver. This generates approximately £6.7m which together with Government grants, business rates and external funding totalling £5.9m funds our net expenditure of £12.6m.

Who is liable to pay?

Only one bill is sent to a dwelling regardless of how many people live there.

Even if several people live in the same dwelling, there might only be one person who is responsible for paying the bill (the liable person).

The liable person will be:

  • A resident freeholder (an owner-occupier)
  • A resident leaseholder (an assured tenant)
  • A resident statutory or secure tenant
  • A resident licensee
  • A resident or
  • The owner (where there are no residents).

A resident is someone aged 18 or over who lives in the dwelling as his/her only or main home.

If the description fits more than one person, then each person is jointly and severally liable with the others, which means that any one of them can be required to pay the full amount of council tax payable. Joint and several liability also applies to husbands and wives resident in the same dwelling and to unmarried couples living as husband and wife.

In some special cases, the list above does not apply as it is always the owner who is liable, not the people who live there. These cases are listed below:

  • Residential care homes, nursing homes and some hostels
    • (a) occupied by more than one household and the residents pay rent separately for different parts of the dwelling
    • (b) specially built or altered so that people of different households can live in them
  • Residences of Ministers of Religion
  • Residences of religious communities
  • Residences of domestic servants

Find out if you qualify for a council tax reduction, discount or exemption.

Additional information

Contact us

If you would like further information or assistance, please contact the revenues team:

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